Friday, December 02, 2011

Mysterious Bones: The Story of Kennewick Man

Mysterious Bones: The Story of Kennewick Man Katherine Kirkpatrick

In 1996 a 9,400 year-old skeleton was found in Kennewick, WA. It was an amazing archaeological find-- Kennewick Man was largely intact, including his skull. The Native American tribes of the area banded together to claim Kennewick Man as theirs under NAGRPA and wanted his remains returned so they could be reburied. What followed was a long court battle.

Kirkpatrick covers many topics in this book-- the court battle, what Kennewick Man's remains taught us about his life and the life of people in that place and time, Clovis-era culture, how archeology works, the sordid history of archaeology and Native remains-- and makes them all accessible to middle grade readers.

It’s a very interesting read, with good back matter, but I’m wondering why they went with a fully illustrated text. While I could see illustrating some things (many of the Native tribes involved would find photographs of the remains to be very offensive), many other things could have been shown with photographs. When it comes to nonfiction, I think photographs are almost always the better choice, as it’s much closer to a primary source instead of being intrepreted through an artist’s eye, style, and skill level.

Book Provided by... my local library

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1 comment:

Sean said...

Thanks for reviewing this book on your blog. I first heard about this at an ALAN Workshop breakout session last month, and was intrigued. Two positive personal testimonies add up to one quick trip to the library! :)